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The Trent Tucker Rule was adopted. When Trent Tucker hit a walk-off three-point field goal at the buzzer in the previous season, the clock had started with 0.1 left. It prevents any shot to be taken with up to 0.2 seconds left in the period; the lone exception was a tip-in.
For the first time since 1981, the Los Angeles Lakers were not the Number 1 seed in the Western Conference. However they still reached the NBA Finals by upsetting the heavily favored Portland Trail Blazers in six games. They would go on to lose to the Chicago Bulls in five games, their last NBA Finals appearance until 2000.
During the season, all NBA teams sport patches featuring the American flag on their warmups as an honor to the American soldiers fighting during the Persian Gulf War. Champion became the league's official outfitter.
The Golden State Warriors became the only seventh seeded team to beat the second seed twice since the 16-team playoff field was introduced seven years earlier. The Warriors swept the San Antonio Spurs in four games.
The NBA becomes the first major professional sports league to play outside North America, as the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz open the season against each other in Tokyo, Japan.
z - Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs
c - Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs
y - Clinched division title
x - Clinched playoff spot
A ticket for Game 4 of the 1991 NBA Finals at the Great Western Forum.
Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.